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burt

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As a store owner I have no idea what is best for SEO. My current site is quite well placed in most of the search engines, but that is probably only by pure chance, luck and time. I read the article linked to in the first post and understand most of it, and have been doing it in the past as I have learnt from other similar posts. I currently use headertags_seo and rely on the coder to know what I need to do, and where everything needs to be placed. I do also use seo_urls which is supposed to help.

 

It is good to see that what ever method is used for seo is being added in the core code. Then as things change the core code can be changed also. What it will mean is that all the current addons will become obsolete and hopefully the developers of those addons will have input into what is included in the core. What ever gets added must be the best for oscommerce, and must be simple enough so that store owners can understand what they need to do, and why they need to do it.

 

If I need to add something on every product page for seo, then an input box should be on the product page in admin. Keeping everything on one page just keeps it simple when creating products.

 

I hope this helps a little.


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If I need to add something on every product page for seo, then an input box should be on the product page in admin. Keeping everything on one page just keeps it simple when creating products.

 

Agreed.


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Good point I think, about the average Joe store owner, as an employee of a store owner, not a dev, I fairly confident that almost all newcomers to osc, have no concept of the benefit/or otherwise of seo, they just plough ahead without giving a thought to it. Some like myself and @@14steve14, may have got lucky, but I think we probably both did a little more research than some.

 

That said, I do not think I could actually comment on what SEO should be added to the core, because I don't understand it nor the core enough, but safe to say the core could have more SEO implications, at least that way it will make newcomers think more about the issue


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We definitely need to get some SEO aspects into the main codebase @@kenkja - that is a given and will please those who are asking for more stuff "built in", the big thing is deciding precisely what aspects need to be added. From all the research I've done and my knowledge/intuition over the past "x" years, tells me;

 

1. Title

2. Meta Description

3. Social Linking

4. SEO Urls

 

After that, it's a case of individual shopowners inserting quality content and embarking on SEO campaigns such as getting backlinks, twittering, facebooking and all the rest.

 

Most of what we want is available, it's a case of deciding which/what is the best option for the majority of shopowners, and how best to implement these things. Certainly @@14steve14 comment about keeping all the inputs (product title, product meta) on the categories.php page is a good one.

 

One caveat to bear in mind, which is important; when something is "built in" to oscommerce it needs to be done correctly as it is then quite hard to swap to something else.


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@@burt

 

I know for a fact that had points 1, 2 and 4 been built into the core of v2.3.1 when I started, I would have done it, but suspect others would not.

 

I turned off socially linking, from the first day, that may be the wrong decision, but hey ho, maybe I dont fully get faceache and twitter yet.

 

and yes there is a very steep learning curve for newbies, so it is hard for them to do enough reading to do it correctly without adding more issues


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@@burt

 

We definitely need to get some SEO aspects into the main codebase @@kenkja - that is a given and will please those who are asking for more stuff "built in", the big thing is deciding precisely what aspects need to be added. From all the research I've done and my knowledge/intuition over the past "x" years, tells me;

 

1. Title

2. Meta Description

3. Social Linking

4. SEO Urls

 

 

About point 4. SEO Urls......as someone already mentioned in the osC 2.4 thread, is it feasible though to add into the main codebase a flexible enough SEO Url method that would cover everyone's needs? for example the way multi lingual urls are built, the url path structure, etc.

 

I personally would love to have (in admin) an SEO Urls section where I would just tick what I wanted, provided it gave enough choice over structure etc. But is that kind of thing feasible do you think?


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Beyond what is listed above

 

* google snippets (schema.org) to not just get listed onto page 1, but have people click on your link

 

* xml sitemap

 

* Support for explicit language declaration in the url like (I believe that is google's preference)

/en/english catalog

/nl/dutch catalog

/de/german catalog pages

 

* Category descriptions

 

* Manufacturer descriptions

 

* Product families: in order to avoid duplicate content, need a means to have a description of a collection of products and display of just this collection on a single page. This can be done by creating additional categories, but that soon becomes unworkable as not all all products in a collection are necessarily the same kind of product eg a toaster, coffeemachine and waterkettle often share the same design, but are categorized differently. Sometimes this is also done with a master/slave setup but the same issue of categorisation remains.

 

* Article manager, not just info pages, but the possibility to have it blog like, and also xselling to products

 

* (Product) Tagging by customers

 

* Twitter notifications : eg products lowered in price, specials ending soon, some kind of system allowing you to optionally send out tweets on certain events

 

That's my brain dump for now, I'll update if I think of other stuff.


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Great ideas there thanks Carine @@bruyndoncx

 

Can you explain more about "tagging by customers" ?


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One of the things I always do to a site I build is add new fields into the product/category pages.

 

Title input

Meta description input

H1 input

URL Slug

 

For products I use a keyword field, even though Its more a novelty these days, but it doubles as a tag system.

 

For categories I also add a main description, as it helps to have some content on category level pages, so long as it is not so lengthy it defeats the purpose of product display, which is what the customer wants to see. Sometimes it takes that text to get indexed into the SERP's so that customs get there in the first place though.

 

So anyhow, it all works together as so:

 

If the title is null, then pull the product name.

If the metadescription is null, then strip and truncate the products/categories description

------

If product keywords are null, then pull the product and category name

if on category level, pull product or sub category names as keywords (not even option to input category keyword)

if on homepage, then pull categorie names as keywords.

--- But Its all just novelty at this day and age, I believe some shoping comparison sites like to use a stores keywords to help with clasification, but that may also be a thing of the past.

 

If h1 is null then pull the product/category name. The category name still shows in the menus and breadcrumbs, so we have a bit more control for situations where you want a long h1 title, but would rather keep the menu links short and sweet.

 

Url slug - I always use SEO URL's 5 and have made some slight adjustments to allow for a custom URL to be used - having worked with SEO people through the years it always seemed to come into play at one point or another.

 

Though the slugs are not used much, they are handy when needed. Basically they serve 2 functions

1) Keep the length of the URL reasonable - for times when you just have to have a long category or product name

2) In the case the product/category name must change, then the existing SEO url can still stay the same keeping any indexed URL's active.


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@ - Gary the URL Slug sounds -very- interesting. Would there be a possibility to get hold of that code?


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Regarding building in SEO-style URLs ("pretty" URLs), does it help search results at all? What I'm constantly told is that search engines have no problem following "non-SEO" (dynamic) URLs, and that prettiness is more for the benefit of people looking at the links (and very few people ever type in a full link, whether it's dynamic or static). Does the URL actually have any impact on ranking? Is it a source for keywords and such that can help ranking?

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Regarding building in SEO-style URLs ("pretty" URLs), does it help search results at all? What I'm constantly told is that search engines have no problem following "non-SEO" (dynamic) URLs, and that prettiness is more for the benefit of people looking at the links (and very few people ever type in a full link, whether it's dynamic or static). Does the URL actually have any impact on ranking? Is it a source for keywords and such that can help ranking?

I don't know if it helps ranking or not, but I don't really care.

When a potential customer sees my link, I want to maximise the chance of them clicking, and that is where it matters. Even if I'm on page 10, I still want them to click my link ;)


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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Can you explain more about "tagging by customers" ?

I've seen some sites where people can tag products, so that you get more alternative keywords/search terms used by potential customers which should ultimately help you to rank higher in the natural search results for more terms, not just the ones you could think of.


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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When a potential customer sees my link, I want to maximise the chance of them clicking, and that is where it matters.

So people are more likely to click on a "clean looking" link than a messy looking one with a URL Query String? Do people even see the URL, except when hovering over the listing link (page title)? Frankly, I would put more effort into having a good, enticing meta description, along with a good, clear page title. But if it works for you, I won't tell you not to do it.

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@@burt I cant seem to upload files - maybe I'm missing something, So I'll post the edits here as they are actually pretty simple.

 

I use Rob's SEO URLS Pro 5, http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7704

 

Only 2 files to modify

../includes/modules/ultimate_seo_urls5/page_modules/index.php

Around line 35 we change the dependencies array to querie the category slug if available:

array( 'cPath'		    => array( 'marker'	 => '-c-',
															  'query'	  => "SELECT IF(cd2.categories_slug !='', cd2.categories_slug, cd2.categories_name) AS pName, IF(cd.categories_slug !='', cd.categories_slug, cd.categories_name) AS  cName FROM :TABLE_CATEGORIES c LEFT JOIN :TABLE_CATEGORIES_DESCRIPTION cd2 ON c.parent_id = cd2.categories_id AND c.parent_id = cd2.categories_id AND cd2.language_id = :languages_id, :TABLE_CATEGORIES_DESCRIPTION cd WHERE c.categories_id = cd.categories_id AND c.categories_id = :cid AND cd.language_id = :languages_id",

 

../includes/modules/ultimate_seo_urls5/page_modules/product_info.php

Around line 35 we change the dependencies array to querie the category and product slug if available:

array( 'products_id' => array( 'marker'	 => '-p-',
														 'query'	  => "SELECT IF(pd.products_slug !='', pd.products_slug, pd.products_name) AS products_name, m.manufacturers_name, IF(cd.categories_slug !='', cd.categories_slug, cd.categories_name) AS categories_name, p.products_model, p2c.categories_id FROM :TABLE_PRODUCTS_DESCRIPTION pd INNER JOIN :TABLE_PRODUCTS_TO_CATEGORIES p2c ON p2c.products_id = pd.products_id INNER JOIN :TABLE_PRODUCTS p ON pd.products_id = p.products_id LEFT JOIN :TABLE_MANUFACTURERS m ON m.manufacturers_id = p.manufacturers_id INNER JOIN :TABLE_CATEGORIES_DESCRIPTION cd ON p2c.categories_id = cd.categories_id AND cd.language_id=':languages_id' WHERE pd.products_id=':pid' AND pd.language_id=':languages_id' LIMIT 1",

 

The categories_description and products_description tables need new column, categories_slug/products_slug - varchar(64) default none not null.

 

And of course the admin/categories.php could use the new input fields.

 

Come to think of it now, the subqueiries probably need to be added into the product review page modules as well.


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@@MrPhil

Regarding building in SEO-style URLs ("pretty" URLs), does it help search results at all? What I'm constantly told is that search engines have no problem following "non-SEO" (dynamic) URLs, and that prettiness is more for the benefit of people looking at the links (and very few people ever type in a full link, whether it's dynamic or static). Does the URL actually have any impact on ranking? Is it a source for keywords and such that can help ranking?

 

I agree with Bruyndoncx reason here.Its basically a matter of human optimization, but sometimes you have to think of it as street names, people reember them if they pay attention to them to begin with, and if its the street their looking for, they turn on it.

 

Regardless, if using an URL rewiting scheme, lenth can easily become a problem, Ive seen some pretty long product names before and *supposedly their are rules that come into play about the length and number of seperators (-) within the URI structure - But thats all I'm allowed ti say, sworn to secrecy by the SEO Police.


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Forgot to mention XML sitemaps earlier, as we probably all know they are a must have. Rob's SEO URLs also has a nice xml sitemap generator with it, though I think it may be a bit hidden - Ive redone it to hangout in the EXT directory and place a button in the admin so that I can just ping it anytime I do any updates.


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KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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I'll post the edits

 

@ - I very much like this idea, it's much like the wordpress slug system which I always found excellent. Thank you for the code.


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@@burt

 

Not a problem, Rob & Chemo did all the hard work and this is practically an invaluable contribution.

 

I have always liked the ability to edit the slug in Wordpress too. One feature I really like about the SEO URLs contribution is that no matter what URL schema is being used, the proper page will load if following in an older schema or just the bog standard default urls. I'm not sure that wordpress has that ability - I do not think it does.

 

The other feature that wordpress has, that I have always thought would be could be helpful is the short url. The SEO URLS can be stripped to work as so: www.domain.com/-c-11_14 would redirect to the graphics cards category - and it works no matter what URI schema is being used.


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In Google Search Results, people are shown the page title and your meta description (or something cooked up by Google). The only time you would see the actual URL is in the browser status bar or wherever it displays the URL you'll be clicking on. Has that URL been found to be a deal breaker because it's not "human friendly"? Does a dynamic URL actually turn off people so much that they refuse to click through? Do they actually look at the URL for some kind of reassurance that they're going to the right place? I find it hard to believe such a thing would matter, but then, I'm probably not your typical Web surfer.

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In Google Search Results, people are shown the page title and your meta description (or something cooked up by Google). The only time you would see the actual URL is in the browser status bar or wherever it displays the URL you'll be clicking on. Has that URL been found to be a deal breaker because it's not "human friendly"? Does a dynamic URL actually turn off people so much that they refuse to click through? Do they actually look at the URL for some kind of reassurance that they're going to the right place? I find it hard to believe such a thing would matter, but then, I'm probably not your typical Web surfer.

 

Well you know everyone is different and some people are hesitant to click on strange looking URL's such as dynamic can appear. Its not so much always the appearnce in the SERP's, as you stated they dont always even show the URI, but sometimes people may post a link in other places and having a descriptive URL could be helpful to get a click through.

 

Have you ever seen the short URL decoders? This is kind of what I think of, a scrambled URL has a bad reputation that it could lead to a malicious website, therefor some groups of people are hesitant to click one, while others click without giving it a second thought.

 

Its just a small piece of the puzzle, but if it helps gain a visitor that otherwise would not visit, it did its job.


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how about a sitemap (not xml) in the core? the type humans can click and see links to categories/products throughout the shop.


I am not a professional webmaster or PHP coder by background or training but I will try to help as best I can.

I remember what it was like when I first started with osC. It can be overwhelming.

However, I strongly recommend considering hiring a professional for extensive site modifications, site cleaning, etc.

There are several good pros here on osCommerce. Look around, you'll figure out who they are.

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sometimes you have to think of it as street names, people reember them if they pay attention to them to begin with, and if its the street their looking for, they turn on it.

 

Street names [category names] usually useful only if a street number [product number] is also given. You don't want to end up like Panama or West Virginia where addresses are of the form "past the old oak tree and take a left where the old schoolhouse used to be that burned down in 1978". Useful only to long-time residents, not newcomers.

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I've been busy doing "other stuff", so where we at on this?

 

Adding:

- title for

-- products

-- manufacturers

-- categories

-- pages (eg shipping.php etc)

 

Adding:

- meta description for

-- products

-- manufacturers

-- categories

-- pages (eg shipping.php etc)

 

Adding:

- meta keywords for

-- products

-- manufacturers

-- categories

-- pages (eg shipping.php etc)

 

Adding:

- description for

-- manufacturers

-- categories

 

Adding:

- better facebook module

- better twitter module (twitter cards)

 

Adding:

- some system for viewing where people come from

-- I still think Google Analytics is the correct tool for this

- Google Adwords Conversion header_tag

 

Adding:

- microdata pages

-- product listings

-- product review

-- list of product reviews

 

Changes/Updates:

- canonical header_tag does not work in all cases

-- I have not checked this out, so cannot confirm at this point

 

If we do look at this bunch first then look at the other things at some point in the near future...


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